Allentown Morning Call - May 25, 1980

Larson gives Phils’ pitching shot in arm


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Well, what better way to prepare for your first major league start of the season than by an eight-hour flight from Oklahoma City to Philadelphia with a couple hours' delay in St. Louis? 


And so there was Dan Larson, just 10 hours after leaving good ol' O.C.. standing on the plush wall-to-wall carpet of the Philadelphia Phillies' locker room explaining how he helped beat the Houston Astros 5-4 last night. Sweet are the uses of adversity. 


"Maybe it's better that he (manager Dallas Green) did it this way." said the 25-year-old Larson who didn't get the decision but who raised a lot of hopes with a strong 5⅓-inning performance against the team that traded him away in September of 1978. "It sure didn't give me much of a chance to get nervous. Dallas talked to me yesterday afternoon Friday) and told me I'd probably be starting. So, I caught the first plane out of Oklahoma City this morning at 8: 15. 


"I don't know where I go from here, really. But I'm going to assume that if I come up with results I'll stay." 


Green admits he doesn't know where Larson "goes from here" either. First, there is the uncertain status of Nino Espinosa, who is still on the disabled list but "coming along," according to assistant trainer Jeff Cooper. Nino has been "coming along" since his first days in Clearwater. Fla. in March. 


Then there is Larry Christenson. Besides a pulled groin, his arm has been swelling up after throwing and the Phils will monitor that problem before deciding when he'll re-enter the rotation. Dick Ruthven is reportedly healthy but Green may want to give him more rest between starts which is what he achieved by pitching Larson in Ruthven's regular spot last night. Ruthven starts in today's game. 


This is not even to mention the left-handed side of the problem – Randy Lerch. Lerch is 0-6 after missing a turn and Green will still not make a commitment on the rotation for the four-game Pittsburgh series other than Steve Carlton will start Tuesday night. The sun is expected to rise in the east that morning, also. 


The Phils won last night's game in the seventh when a Bake McBride triple, back-to-back walks to Mike Schmidt intentional and Greg Luzinski (semi-intentional) and a groundout by Bob Boone produced a run that gave the Phils a 5-2 lead. 


Tug McGraw protected the lead, pitching the last three innings and picking up his third save. 


Luzinski (2-for-3 last night) has now hit in five straight games and has raised his average to .289 with 10 hits in his last 15 at-bats.


Green kept Larson in just long enough for him to be eligible for a win. With one out and Rafael Landestoy on third in the sixth, Green went to Kevin Saucier. Saucier promptly said to Larson, "I'll take the decision, thank you," by allowing Terry Puhl's long sacrifice fly to right to tie the score at 2-2. a run that was, of course, charged to Larson. And when the Phillies scored two in the bottom of the inning, Saucier did indeed become the pitcher of record, picking up his second win without a loss though he pitched to only three batters.


The Astros had scored their first run off Larson in the second on first baseman Denny Walling's leadoff home run to right-center. Larson appeared to be cracking a little after that when he walked Cesar Cedeno, then allowed him to reach third on a clean stolen base and a wild pitch. But Boone helped bail him out with a snap throw to third that caught Cedeno and Larson got out of the inning without further damage.

Over-eagerness is last thing they need from Indy (excerpt)


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor



SO THE BASEBALL SEASON continues uninterrupted. And the holiday weekend isn't wasted. Those smiles are coming from the Phillies' Family because that other from Western Pennsylvania is coming to the Vet. Yep. the world champion Pirates are coming to Philadelphia for the first time this season for a four-game series, starting tomorrow night. It's a big series, not only from the standpoint of the league leaders meeting a serious challenger, but also from a financial standpoint. This series could attract over 150.000 customers. The Pittsburgh Family is breezing along nicely, not overly spectacular, but steady. Chuck Tanner still says "this team is ah easy team to manage." Hedoesn't necessarily mean that because of the talent. but because of the attitude. "We do the job on the field and we enjoy what we're doing." Tanner says. "We are far from perfect. We make mistakes. But there isn't a player here who doesn't give 100 percent. That's all any manager can ask." The only unhappy member is Bert Blyleven. but one out of 26 ain't bad. One other note about scheduling. After the Pirates leave Philadelphia, the Phils go to Chicago next weekend, then windup in Pittsburgh for three games on June 2, 3 and 4.